How do we remove negative black stereotypes from movies and television? Dr. Mark Sullivan reveals two small victories that helped black people in the media.

This is the fourth of a five-part interview about the racist media portrayals of African Americans. Dr. Mark Sullivan, an adjunct professor at Towson University, teaches a class called Mass Media and Society.

The previous segment ended with Sullivan saying, “In successful shows that the producers, the networks, so far and so forth are never going to change [media depictions of African Americans] as long as they remain successful. And they’re going to continue to be perpetuated.”

I asked Sullivan what it would take to change that, and he tells two stories two small victories that assisted African Americans in media.

The best quotes:

Racism in the Elevator

An older White lady stands in an elevator, two large Black men step in with her. She steps backward and noticeably tightens the grip on her purse.

The two Black men see this, look at each other and start laughing hysterically.

The next day, the woman receives a note that says:

Thanks for the best laugh we’ve had in years.

Sincerely,

Michael Jordon and Charles Barkley

This story’s authenticity is highly debatable. But Professor John Bullock told it to my Urban Government and Politics class a few weeks ago. Then I saw this hilarious video on YouTube.com by Reckless Tortuga.

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Discussing racism and negative stereotypes of black people in movies and television with Mark Sullivan

I sat down with Dr. Mark Sullivan, an adjunct professor at Towson University who teaches a class called Mass Media and Society, and he gave a very in depth analysis of negative portrayal of African Americans in the media, the stereotypes that are reinforced, and the impact of these portrayals.

I first asked him to simply discuss racism issues and the stereotypes of black people in the media. This led to a talk about Tyler Perry’s opposing depictions of black characters in his movies and shows.

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This is only the first part of a rather long interview, but the highlight of this piece can be summed up right here:

Click here for the best quote

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